Twitter adds Feminine Arabic to its language settings: 'Every voice can impact the world'

Update allows women to choose to see feature names on social media platform in feminine form of language

FILE PHOTO: People holding mobile phones are silhouetted against a backdrop projected with the Twitter logo in this illustration picture taken September 27, 2013. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Illustration/File Photo

Twitter has launched a new language setting that better addresses its female Arabic-speaking user base.

In Arabic, as with some other languages, words can be either masculine or feminine. One common way to differentiate between the two is the "taa marbuta", a letter affixed at the end of feminine nouns to differentiate them from the masculine. While most nouns in Arabic have set genders, verbs change between masculine and feminine depending on the subjects being addressed.

On Twitter, Arabic users found that all features were named as if every user were male. This is no longer the case, as the Feminine Arabic language feature can now be accessed through Twitter’s settings page.

Those who opt to use the setting will then be addressed in the feminine form. For example, the "tweet" button will now read "gharridy" instead of "gharrid", while the word "explore" on the platform will be "istakshify" instead of "istakshif".

“At Twitter, every voice can impact the world and the conversations that happen on our service are defined by the people having them,” Carla El Maalouli, head of business marketing at Twitter Mena, said.

“With this update, we are hoping to provide Arabic-speaking women with an option to share their unique voice and participate in an inclusive conversation while being addressed based on their preferences. We have seen great support from the industry and have partnered with a number of organisations and individuals who are joining the conversation to champion this update.”

To find the feature, access the settings page and then choose the Accessibility, Display and Languages list. Next, select Languages and go to Display Language. There is an Arabic (Feminine) option available in the drop-down menu.

Twitter has launched a campaign to coincide with the launch, using the hashtag #FeminineArabic, and is collaborating with organisations and brands from across the region to raise awareness about the new setting.

The campaign features a special emoji of the taa marbuta, which can be unlocked when Twitter accountholders use the hashtag in Arabic or English within their tweets.

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